NORTHEAST HARBOR – The Board of Directors of the Mount Desert Nursing Association (MDNA) has announced the appointment of Amy McVety, MS, RN, as the organization’s new executive director. The association bids farewell to Executive Director Heather Lewis, who is stepping down after five years as leader of the organization.
MDNA, established in 1949, is MDI’s only home health care agency. Patients include year-round and seasonal residents who require skilled care as well as visits from home health aides. These aides oversee patients recovering from surgery or help care for folks with chronic and/or long-term illnesses.
“Heather’s years as our executive director have been incredibly productive in advancing our mission,” said Mazzie Gogolak, president of the association’s Board of Directors. “Our organization would not be where it is today, either in terms of its improved fiscal footing or in volume of service to our island neighbors, without Heather’s hard work and expertise. We will really miss her.”
Gogolak is referring to Lewis’s achievement of transitioning the once private-pay, fee-for-service group into a fully Medicare-accredited and Medicare-compliant home-health-care provider, which transformed the organization’s business model. “This was an incredible team effort by Heather and her predecessor, Elise O’Neil, our nurse director at the time. They really made it all happen,”, said Gogolak.
“I’m very proud of what our hard-working team has managed to do,” Lewis said. “When I arrived in 2016, the board was in the throes of making the ambitious decision to ramp up the organization so as to qualify for Medicare accreditation. I’m happy that I was able to help their positive decision.”
Taking over the role as executive director, McVety, who was reared in Southwest Harbor and who graduated from Mount Desert Island High School, first became a nurse, and later received her master’s degree in pediatric primary care. She has held medical practice, management and healthcare leadership posts in several states, and comes to MDNA from a position in Pennsylvania.
“It’s been wonderful living and working all over the country, including California, but I always eventually wanted to move home,” McVety shared. “Yet I wanted to do so in the context of a job that would be fulfilling and that would utilize my skills. I feel as though I’ve found that at MDNA.”
Longtime MDI residents may remember McVety’s parents, who were integral members of the community. Her late father, George McVety, the first pharmacist at MDI Hospital, later served as the president of the hospital’s Board of Directors. For many years, he was the owner of the Carroll Drug Store in Southwest Harbor. Before retirement, McVety’s mother was a teacher at several schools within MDI Regional School System.
McVety is quick to point out that, importantly, and despite Medicare accreditation, private donations are still a major and much-needed source of the association’s financial support.
“Fundraising remains a big task for us. It’s always been MDNA’s philosophy that no one is refused service based on ability to pay,” she emphasizes.
McVety encourages everyone within the Mount Desert Island community to think of MDNA as a resource – a “wonderfully local” resource – when seeking medical care for themselves or a loved one.
“We know and understand the region’s culture and its people, and we want to get to know and be of assistance to all our neighbors when they need us. And please, don’t ever assume that you wouldn’t qualify for our home health care or other services – just pick up the phone and ask! We are always happy to assist you in finding the services you need,” she said.